Office of Procedures, Records, and Forms


Executive Policy #37
Approved April 16, 2018

WSU Information Security Policy


The purpose of this policy is to establish University requirements for safeguarding the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of institutional data and for the protection of institutional information systems and devices that store, process, transmit, and/or release institutional data.

The requirements set forth in this document are based on generally accepted information security principles and form the foundation of the University Information Security Program. This policy is also intended to support the University in:

  • Complying with state and federal policies, standards, and regulations (e.g., Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Washington State Office of the Chief Information Officer Policy No. 141);
  • Complying with University contractual and data sharing agreements; and
  • Achieving its vision and strategic goals in the areas of research, teaching, outreach, and engagement.


This policy applies to all University administrators, faculty, staff, students, affiliates, and third parties who manage or access institutional data or systems that store, process, transmit, or share institutional data.


  • Washington State University (WSU) must establish and maintain a University-wide Information Security and Privacy Program.
  • All University information technology assets must be appropriately protected to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of institutional data throughout its entire life cycle, in a manner that is reasonable and commensurate with:
    • The criticality to the University mission and business operations
    • The level of confidentiality and privacy of the information content; and
    • Applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
  • All users of institutional systems and data must adhere to all applicable University policies, standards, and procedures governing the use of, and access to institutional data.
  • Each University area and college head (e.g., vice presidents, deans, directors) is accountable for ensuring the implementation and monitoring of:
    • Institutional systems and data under the area’s or college’s purview for compliance with this policy; and
    • Other applicable information security and privacy related policies, standards, laws, regulations, and data sharing agreements and/or vendor contracts with third parties.

      A vendor contract review and risk assessment must be conducted prior to WSU releasing or receiving confidential data, to or from a third party.

  • Information security awareness education and training must be provided to all University employees that is appropriate for their job classification and information security-related roles and responsibilities.

Roles and Responsibilities

Chief Information Officer (CIO)

The University official who is accountable for the establishment, implementation, and maintenance of the University-wide Information Security and Privacy Program. The Office of the CIO is authorized to establish, publish, and maintain the information technology, security, and privacy-related policies, standards, procedures, and guidelines necessary to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of institutional data.

Institution-wide, information technology, security, and privacy-related policies are developed and approved through established University information technology governance processes.


The Office of the Chief Information Officer is responsible for enforcing this policy.


Persons determined to have violated this policy are subject to sanctions imposed using the procedures set forth in applicable University or state policies and handbooks (e.g., the WSU Faculty Manual, the Administrative Professional Handbook, WAC 357-40 (civil service employees), applicable collective bargaining agreements, or the WSU Standards of Conduct for Students, WAC 504-26).


This policy is to be reviewed at least annually or on an as-needed basis due to changes to the technology environment, business operations, or regulatory requirements.


Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Office of the CIO, under the guidance of the University Chief Information Security Officer and the President’s Cabinet.

The Office of the CIO must document and maintain all policy exceptions in writing for the life of the exceptions. Approvals for policy exceptions are effective for a specified period of time and must be reviewed by the Office of the CIO on a periodic basis.



Criticality is defined as a measure of the importance of the data to the University’s mission and business operations. Data considered confidential may not necessarily be considered critical.  Determining the criticality of a particular information system or data set must take into consideration the following:

  • What is the impact to the University if the data is not recovered?
  • How long will the data recovery process take?
  • What is the effect of the loss of the data set during the recovery time, to include potential risks to the University (e.g., information security and privacy, financial, legal, regulatory, reputational, and operational)

See also BPPM 90.15 regarding essential records protection.

Institutional Data

Institutional data are the items of information, which are collected, used, and maintained by WSU for strategic and operational functions, to include administrative data and other data maintained and safeguarded for institutional purposes. This includes data held by central offices as well as data held by departments or individuals. The data policies in this policy (EP37) and EP8 apply to all institutional data, such as that held for the purposes of administration, research, scholarship, education, outreach, and engagement.

Institutional Systems

Institutional systems are defined as the infrastructure, devices, processes, procedures, and capabilities that allow the University to manage, store, transmit, process, and share information in pursuit of its mission and business objectives.